Uber driver arrested on suspicion of stealing cellphone from LA passenger

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016
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LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- An Uber driver was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of robbing a passenger when he refused to give the driver a larger tip in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Police Department robbery detectives arrested Medhanie Meshesha, 35, at his Inglewood home on suspicion of robbery. His bail is set at $50,000.

Authorities said around 2:40 p.m. Saturday, a victim walked into the department's southwest station to report a robbery. The victim said he hired an Uber driver the day before to take him somewhere.

The victim said he realized he forgot his cellphone in the car after the Uber driver had dropped him off. He contacted Meshesha to get his phone back. When Meshesha returned with the phone, the victim asked for a ride back home.

During the ride back, the victim said he offered Meshesha a tip for bringing him his phone. That's when Meshesha became upset, the victim said, and asked for more money for returning the phone.

The victim told police he refused to give the driver a bigger tip and exited the car. When he walked away, Meshesha grabbed a large rock from a front yard and threatened to hit the victim with it, demanding money.

The victim tried walking away, he said, and that's when Meshesha dropped the rock and allegedly grabbed the victim's phone from him, fleeing the scene.

Anyone with more information on the incident was asked to call the LAPD's Southwest Area Robbery Division at (213) 485-2562. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.